List of Profitable rabbit breeds in Nigeria and their characteristics
Have you ever wondered which rabbit breeds in Nigeria are best for rabbit farming? Or you want to rear rabbits but don’t know which breed is best for profitable production?
Welcome to another portion of the basic rabbit breeds discussion, in this segment we’re going to talk about the breeds of rabbit in Nigeria, Types of rabbits in Nigeria, care and management of rabbit and tips on rabbit farming.
Of all the animals you can raise comfortably in your smallholding, rabbit is one of the easiest to rear and yet, one of the most rewarding, because they are not only great meat producers, they also mature quickly, capital conservative in starting and managing, very nutritious and highly sort after.
Rabbit farming, previously not so popular, but thanks to easy accessibility of information and the earth’s quest to learn, rabbit farming has become a popular venture today, Rabbits are very fast-growing and friendly animals, and also consumes numerous food materials which makes keeping them easy and capital friendly.
Rabbit meat is one of the best sources of protein and healthier than most meats, they gain maturity fast and become suitable for slaughter within 4 to 5 months. Yes, that’s how fast you can start making a profit from your rabbit farm. The unique part of rabbit farming is that, unlike other livestock, it does not require much capital to start.
Starting rabbit farming requires very low investment, but First, understanding the different breeds of rabbits is very paramount to profitable rabbit farming, your choice of breed should represent your desired production purpose
Meaning; if you want to rear rabbits for commercial purposes, you should choose the meat breeds of rabbits, when targeted for pet purpose, your choice should be based on breeds with pet qualities.
Starting Rabbit farming for commercial purposes
If you are interested in starting rabbit farming for commercial purposes, here are what to look out for, before buying your rabbits for stocking
- Your rabbit breed should have a nice meat to bone ratio, this enables you to have the desired meat volumes.
- Health history: the health history of the rabbits is very important, you need to buy from a trusted agent or farmer.
Buying unhealthy rabbits will lead to a loss in the long run.
There are over 38 breeds and 19 strains of domestic rabbits throughout the world recognized by the American Rabbit Breeder Association.
That said, here are common breeds of rabbit in Nigeria and their characteristics
List of rabbit breeds in Nigeria and their characteristics
There are numerous rabbit breeds in the world with some peculiar to Nigeria, in this part of this work, we will discuss the major rabbit breeds in Nigeria and their characteristics.
All these breeds are suitable for business, according to the environment and climate in Nigeria. Choose breeds according to the desired production.
The first on the list is the Dutch rabbit breed
The Dutch rabbit breed has a compact body type which is short round, a nice well-rounded head and a nice stocky ear, they’re a marked breed, they come in several colours in combination with white, there is mostly the black coloured, they also come in blue, grey colours, they have flyback fur which should be short and snappy to show the markings off.
This is one of the most common rabbit breed in Nigeria and the world at large, they are found in every part of the country across the six geopolitical zones. Their characteristic color pattern which has a touch of black with white stripes in the middle makes them unique for farmers and hunters in the country. The Dutch rabbit is good for economic purposes.
New Zealand White
This is one of the best meat breeds. It is medium-sized and developed in the USA (originates from California). It has three varieties, that is White, Black and Red. Adult buck and doe weigh 3.7 to 4 kg and 4 to 4.2 kg respectively. This is also another common breed of rabbit, raised across the country. They are often bred for meat and laboratory uses and can also be bred as pet rabbits, although rarely raised as a pet among the country’s rabbit farmers but in other western countries. Of all the rabbit breeds in Nigeria, the New Zealand white is preferred by most farmers for their calmness and friendliness.
Cottontail rabbit breed
The eastern cottontail is a New World cottontail rabbit, a member of the family Leporidae. It is one of the most common rabbit species in North America. This rabbit breed is not so common in Nigeria but is found on some farms.
The Eastern cottontail rabbits love to forage in open areas and use stone walls with shrubs around them, they love to use herbaceous and shrubby plants for escape cover, resting cover, and shelter.
Woody cover is also important for the survival and growth of cottontail rabbits.
Hyla rabbit breed is a product of a laboratory experiment precisely in France. Euralap (a laboratory in France) crossbred the Chinchilla breed, New Zealand breed and the California breed to produce the HYLA RABBIT breed. They are very suitable for meat production with bigger meat to bone ratio, grow fast and are slaughter ready after 4 to 5 months. They are advantageous to farmers because they require less care and eat less yet productive.
The Soviet Chinchilla breed of rabbit has a compact medium body and it is meat type. It has one varible that is gray. Adult buck and doe weigh 2.5 to 3.5 kg and 3.0 to 3.6 kg respectively. The Chinchilla breed of rabbit is one of the rabbit breeds found in almost every Nigerian Rabbit farm.
Popularly known as the Californian White in Nigeria, the Californian rabbit is a meat type rabbit developed in California from Himalayan and Standard Chinchilla cross. The F-1 male was crossed with NZW female to develop this. Adult buck and doe weigh 3.6 to 4.5 and 3.9 to 4.8 kg respectively. The colour is all white with a black, chocolate, blue or lilac nose, ears, feet, and tail.
The Californian white is a beautiful breed, commonly found in Nigeria, with their (mostly) white, most Nigerian farmers admire this breed because it is very profitable.
Other breeds are;
Giant Flemish rabbits
picture from small-pets.lovetoknow.com
The Flemish Giant rabbit is a popular pet on farms across the world known for their enormous size and good nature, they are not common in Nigeria but are found among animal lovers who use them as pets, they have a long wide body which sets them apart from most other rabbit breeds, they exist in all colours including black blueish, grey, brown or white, they calm and very relaxed rabbits, they can occur or exist well with other pets, this breed needs a lot of space to both rest and play.
They can get up to 22 pounds, males are usually a little bit bigger than females, about 20 pounds for the female giant Flemish rabbit. They were often used for meat, and are easygoing animal, the females have a big chin called the dewlap, the dewlap is used to keep her babies warm, they can have from 5 to 12 babies at one time; that’s a lot of babies.
They’re members of the Lagomorph family, a cool family of animals, they have big ears, which help them to hear better, big giant legs which allow them to jump to get away from predators and they appear so adorable.
The Rex rabbit can be of two sizes, the standard large size which can weigh up to five kilograms and the mini variety which only weighs around one to two kilograms, it can come in a variety of colours including black, chocolate, red or white, whether or not they have a spotted pattern their fur is super soft to the touch, these are usually very active rabbits which need a family to align to them to run around the home at various times of the day, you can provide a closed-off area protected from danger and keep the cage open, they are sociable and friendly.
The Satin originated in the USA. It is a meat breed. It has six varieties, that is Black, Blue, Chocolate, Copper, Red Siamese and White. Adult buck and doe weigh 3.5 to 4.0 kg and 4.0 to 4.5 kg respectively. they are good for meat production and therefore are a great breed for beginners in rabbit farming.
Care and Management of rabbit in Nigeria
Housing of rabbit
Making a good rabbit house is the most important part of rabbit farming. Rabbits are very clean animals. You can raise rabbits in both deep litter and cage methods, choose the method according to your product type and capability. For commercials 1200- 1500 square cm, clean space is required for a medium-sized rabbit.
Tips on rabbit farming and management
Doe needs extra space for proper growth, 80cm *115cm is perfect for an adult medium size doe.
Keep the kids or young rabbit in a group until they reach four months of age, 20 to 30 young rabbits can be kept in each group.
Proper ventilation is essential, build the house with wood placed 20mm apart. This system is stable for hot-tempered areas.
Feeding in rabbits
Sufficient amount of nutritious and balanced diet food keeps the rabbit healthy and productive.
For commercial production, you can feed your rabbit with commercially prepared supplement feed.
These foods are available in the market. You can add kitchen garbage, grass leaf of various trees.
Growth in rabbits
Rabbits grow fast and gains maturity earlier. They become stable for breeding within their six months of age.
The gestation period of a rabbit is less compared to other livestock animals. Gestation period stays for 28 to 31 days.
Generally, a doe gives birth to kids after every two months, one doe can give birth to 2-8.
In Nigeria, most people start rabbit farming as part-time, many engage in rabbit farming in a small sustainable farming operation, but it is possible to run a successful commercial rabbit.
While the most common use of rabbit in agriculture is for meat, rabbits also are raised for pelts, manure, show and laboratory use. Rabbit meat is high in protein and low in fat, calories and cholesterol when compared to most meats.
They eat forage, hay, garden waste and high fiber milling by-products like wheat bran.
They are also easy to manage and therefore are great livestock for medium capital content farmers to start a profitable livestock farming with.
Most rabbit breeds in Nigeria are common to find among rabbit farmers so sourcing for your rabbit won’t be an issue. That will be all for now, we do hope you have learned from this article.
Are you a rabbit farmer? If yes, which of the rabbit breeds in Nigeria do you think is best for rabbit farming let’s us know in the comment box below.